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Fasteners-Women in the 18th century fastened their clothing with inconspicuous items like straight pins and hooks and eyes, which are familiar to people today. Ladies also used drawstrings and laces to fasten clothes, but those do not survive in a typical archaeological environment. One type of fastener that is not included here is the button. That is because 18th-century women rarely wore buttons as clothing fasteners except to tie up gown skirts, or to close specialized garments for riding that tended to mimic men’s clothing. Often when women wore buttons they were added to garments as decoration and they were not necessarily used to fasten anything. Images of hook and eyes and pins-Hook , Date: ca. 1658-1690s, Site Name: Patuxent Point, Site Number: 18CV271/82.005;  Eye, Date: ca. 1651-1685, Site Name: Compton, Site Number: 18CV279/180;  Hooks and eyes have been used as hidden fasteners on clothing in Maryland since the 17th century, and while the clothing has changed, the basic function of the hook and eye has not. These fasteners are found on many sites of the period, and in fact the hook shown here comes from a different site than the eye. Both the hook and the eye are relatively large, which could have been suitable for a cloak or heavy skirts. Smaller hooks and eyes of iron or brass could also be used to fasten gown fronts and stomachers when women were comfortable committing to sew-on fasteners as opposed to pins. Straight Pins, Date: ca. 1711-1754, Site Name: Smith’s St. Leonard, Site Number: 18CV91/114 - Straight pins are frequently recovered on archaeological sites, especially if excavated soil is washed through fine screens to capture small items.  Most people think of sewing when they see straight pins, but in centuries past, they were more generic fasteners. For example, when organizing papers, pins were used to group sheets together much like paper clips are used today. Pins came in many sizes to accommodate their different uses. For clothing, pins were not just a means to make clothes, but also to fasten them once they were finished.  Gowns could close at the front with pins, and ladies used pins to keep caps, stomachers, kerchiefs, aprons, and other accessories in their proper place as well. Although wearing pins put people at risk of getting scratched or caught on things, pins had the advantage of being easily moved and adjusted. In the days before machine sewing and machine-made cloth, clothing was expensive and time-consuming to produce, so versatility was important. Pins allowed people to achieve a better fit  in situations where clothing was not made specifically for the wearer, or the wearer had some weight fluctuations. Even pregnant women could continue to wear their open-front gowns with the help of strategically pinned accessories. Illustration on How were pins used on women's clothing? Gowns that close down the front can acheive a clean look either with hooks and eyes or a series of straight pins, many women wore aprons that tied around the waist, but also had a bodice cover that pinned to the gown. Many 18th-century gowns had an open front that would have left the shift, stays, and petticoat waistline exposed if not for the addition of a stomacher. The images below show the stomacher before and after proper placement. A stomacher is a triangular accessory, sometimes with tabs for pins, that finished the overall look of the open-front gown. Once in place, the pins were hidden behind the trimmed edges of the gown. Oil painting image of a lady playing knucklebones: This 1734 painting, Les Osslettes by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, shows a young lady playing the game of knucklebones while wearing an apron that is pinned on one side. She has removed the pin from the other side to allow a better range of motion, but the second pin is tucked into another part of the apron for safe keeping.